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23 April 2003
Stone Age dagger hauled out of a German lake

A Stone Age dagger dropped into a southern German lake 5,000 years ago has been fished out of the mud more or less intact, complete with its wooden handle. "It's the first time a complete dagger of this type has been discovered," said Helmut Schlichtherle, in charge of an archaeological dig in shallow lakeside waters at Allensbach where prehistoric people once lived in straw houses on stilts.
     Comparison showed the finely worked flint knife was made in northern Italy and was a prized object, probably too good for everyday hunting. The handle did not rot because no oxygen penetrates the lake mud. The dagger is 16cm long overall, with a blade 9cm in length topped by a shaft that fits into a handle of wood from an elder tree. The two parts are held in place with pitch.
     The archaeologist said previous daggers had been found without any shaft. The weapon was twice as long as a contemporary model found with Oetzi, the mummified body of a Stone Age hunter found in the Oetztal Alps in 1991.

Sources: Sapa-DPA/Iol.co.za/web.de (8 April 2003)

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